Take two tables, each shaped like a slice of melon and place one of them in Boxborough MA and one in Phoenix AZ. Add the magic of Cisco Telepresence, three 65 inch television screens, and some eerily good audio and suddenly people in both locations appear to be sitting around the same board table. The people in the North East can see the powerpoint slides projected in the South West and the other way around. Everyone is as large as life and twice as cheerful.
The Crone had this experience last week as part of a program she was running for committee chairs and lead directors from publicly traded companies. These people have seen a huge increase in the work of their boards, and more pressure and responsibility is on the way. They get very tired of travelling to meetings so the National Association of Corporate Directors decided to show them how new technology could save a lot of time, and take a lot of stress out of board work. The presentation was facilitated in Phoenix by Scott Greenburg and in Boston by Jessica Lipnack
It was just like being in the room with the folks from Boston. Better yet, Jessica and the Crone texted each other during the meeting, the modern day equivalent of passing schoolgirl notes. The directors asked questions about Facebook and Twitter, Linkedin and a variety of Board Portals. They discussed the risks of doing business in a world where a Facebook message can rally an instant protest outside your HQ, and began to appreciate the value of underground tweeting to allow a director, or a military commander, or a journalist to know what is really going on inside a company…or a country. Everyone got really excited. You can read Jessica’s blog to gain the New England perspective here–or talk to her via Twitter or Facebook, as the Crone does everyday while playing her at Lexulous.
Thanks to Gene Papula and Dale Walker from Cisco for arranging to let us play with Telepresence–you can check it out at their offices all over the country and in major Marriotts and Sheratons soon. You still need your makeup and a freshly ironed shirt, but now you no longer need an overnight bag to attend that all-important meeting.